National Service


(January 01: 0930) - I stepped down from the car and from far I saw, Stadium was fully crowded with peoples, feeling anticipated, I walked towards the crowd, I was so blur that time cause of not getting any sleep the night before, and there I saw someone, YongKim was there, and I thought he's one of the lucky ones who got chosen for national service, and this kind hearted boy said he came to say bye bye to his schoolmate, all the way from Bercham =] And while he's helping me looking after my stuffs, I went in for registration, the registration hall was fully packed with peoples, there were groups and groups of peoples standing there chatting, parents nagging their sons, couples preparing for their farewells, reporters having interview with some of the campers, and long queue for every single counter of different campsites.

Got myself registered, went out again to took my stuffs, theres 1 travel bag, a haversack, and a pail, said bye bye to YongKim, and there I go, went up to the bus, sitting next to my 2 Sam tet fellows, and there I met my 1st Malay buddy, Abu. We waited long enough in the bus, and it only departed at around 12 plus, its about 2 hours we waited in the bus damn it. As you know when you're staring at the windows and the pictures outside of the bus aint moving, you know the feeling...The only good thing was, the bus I'm in was the last of 3 bus going to the Selama campsite, so there was only about 20+ peoples, we got a lot of free spaces for our stuffs.

Too tired, and I fell asleep, when I woke up the bus its already on highway, not long after that, the bus turned into some junction which look like a kampung entrance, and from there I saw the nicest scene ever, without ever wanting to sleep again because the environment outside there was too attractive, I saw lakes, nice mountains, narrow roads and left and right of me were all large green fields with moos, palm oil estates, graveyards, and I remember on my left there was a huge piece of land divided to 3 territories, a Malay kampung, and right beside the Malay kampung, there was an Indian kampung, and next to the Indian kampung there was a Chinese kampung, its in sequence. Passed through all those nice kampung scenes, the bus started going uphill, it was terribly slow, Probably bout 10 - 20 km/h, and I looked to everywhere, there were huge hazey mountains on every direction, I guess despites all the sky scrapers and metropolitans all built by men, the earth is still beautifully crafted by the hand of God.

Chapter 1 : Kem Tegas Mesra

(January 01: 1630) - The bus journey seems endless with mountains & palm oil estates, not until I saw some yellow and blue buildings about 500 meters away, it looked much like an army camp, the only thing different was those chio barracks were painted in blue and yellow, but not in green. And now I know I'm finally arriving to the the destination point.

A soldier came to us when we came down from the bus, took our stuffs and he took us to some shades and we waited there for about half an hour, there were parents following all the way up to the mountain just to have a look at the campsite and spend some last minutes with their sons.

Went to some counters and got our stuffs checked by the Jurulatihs, there were a lot of stuffs brought by campers which got confiscated, there were cigarettes, medicines, cell phones, belts and such.

Registered myself for a dorm and bed number, and there I carried my stuffs inside to the dorm, simply throwed them inside to the locker, and went out for tea prepared by the canteen.

Walked around and found a few other Sam tet boys in the camp too. We walked around and started comparing our dorms, some of em were complaining about lights are dim, dirty toilets, damaged lockers and such, and problem for my dorm was the toilet, my dorm is the furthest from office and nearest to the dirt hill, and the bathroom for my dorm is always the dirtiest one, flooded with waters, and dirts on the floor. And the waters were green in colour, however however, its still usable.

At night the jurulatihs gathered us at the hall for a briefing and speech by camp commandant, really, its boring, life for the first 2 days in camp was like this - We ate after we slept, we slept after we ate, the same routine repeated for 2 days.

Chapter 2: The wonderful beginnning.

The whole camp consisted of 16 dorms, block 1 - 8 for boys and block A - H for girls. And were all divided into 4 companies, Alfa, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.

Delta is my company, short form D company, it consisted of 4 dorms, 2 of the girl's which we called "wirawati" and two of the guy's which we called "wira". I'm in the 7th dorm, a good one, consisted of 29 campers, most of them came from Perak, some came from Kelantan and one or two of them from the Wilayah Persekutuan. They are nice, not racist, reliable comarades in the camp, the good thing is we got together easily and there's no tribalism as happened in other dorms. Beds beside me are one chinese guy, named DD and another, Farid(which elected to be the company leader later). Bed besides Farid is another chinese guy which we called him " Paku " a.k.a nail. The 3 chinese became good friends later.

(January 02: 0945) - Ketua jurulatih called everyone out to the field for a rough briefing of the training for the coming 3 months. After all that, 2 leaders from each dorm were elected, for my dorm was Farid which we called him "Chief"(Some called him "ship", "Chip", "Cheat", even "shit". You know their pronunciations...) and me.

Our teachers brought us to everywhere and let us know the rules, curfews and stuffs. They also brought us to some of the training grounds, there were some monkey bars, and some steel gadjets thingie, and theres a classroom in the forest, consisted of some maple built bench and tables.

At night, I asked a few of them and together we cleaned the toilet. And certainly it looks better now, atleast with some of the dirts off, although the water is still the same in colour.

And I write my diary everyday before I sleep, thanks to the torch light, it helped when the lights were off during 2330 every night, although there were flyants kacauing all the way, they kept bumping towards the light =] . And there i thought, what's installed for this unknown realm yet to be discovered?

Chapter 3: Berusaha.Bekerjasama.Berjaya

(January 03 - Afternoon til 4 midnight) - Schedule started the 3rd day of camp, it's the end of our slacky life. We had banners and slogans design competition. We were told that we are not allowed to get to bed before the banner gets done. Forgot what I did the night before, and so I was absolutely tired until I fell asleep during briefing. And so I wa totally blur.

Of not knowing what to do, I was put to incharge of the slogans team by Farid. I was really really blur, o I handed over to some Malay and Indian guys, and thanks to a girl in the team, which is a member of her school's debating team(igh I couldn't remember her name). She contributed alot, great ideas, great vocabularies, but still atlast, their final decision, it came up with " Berusaha, Bekerjasama, Berjaya ".

I thought I'm lame for this banner designing comp, helped nothing, couldn't even think of a Banner title. So I thought I'd be giving up, so I sit there with my ex scouting buddies, we talked about stories back when we were still in form 1 or 2, when we were in the glorious scout troop ever, the Kinta-39th. We both hope to contribute something on the banner and both of us won't want to be someone lame in this banner competition.With no ideas of what to do and how to help, we went to have a look at our banners, his one was doing fine, because there's a Malay guy who can draw and apply colors very well, but sadly, mine was not, some of them can draw, but none knows how to paint a banner. And so, with a little experience of Chinese calligraphy which I always did back when I was in primary, and some painting technique taught by some of school friends, again I picked up the job.

I never stopped, even until everyone else went to bed. Only left Farid and another Indian guy, both of them were watching, awhile more, evern Farid said he's tired and he too, went to bed, so there's only the Indian guy left, and me, I salute to his patience and passion and spirit for the company.

Suddenly jurulatihs came in, both of us were frightened by 3 of the jurulatihs. They woke everyone up and told us about ome dorm rules(I think because they forgot to do so earlier) and said there'll be inspection for all forms the next morning, so they woke everyone up. And I know how "Dulan" everyone was. I was not allowed to continue with the banner again, and I was told to finish it the next morning.

Atlast, the green cloth turned into some 1/4(rated by self) banner, I was not so happy with the design but atleast I've contributed to it. So it came up a banner, with a scorpion in the middle(It was said to represents the spirit of bravery). And the banner name "Sangkala"(can anyone tell me what does that means?)on top and some cereal crops(much like the Kedah symbol)and our slogans " Berusaha, Bekerjasama, Berjaya " on the bottom.

Chapter 4: A Short Review

throughout this 7 days in camp, we started building up brotherhood, I appreciate working together as a team with them, I'm missing the camp and Ill be back to the camp some hours later, there's one Malay buddy in my dorm, he got his letter from UTP few days after the camp started, so he dismissed from the camp earlier, some of them were telling him " how lucky are you? " some were giving him their own phone numbers, and I remember his face during that moment, full of disappointment, tears dropped onto his cheeks, and still he has to go, I felt sad too for him. And so now all of you are asking me, how's NS? I guess I got your question answered.
(to be continued...)

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